Chucking blame - Justice minister blasts inept public sector
Incensed by the red tape in the public sector that had delayed the approval by the Ministry of Finance of 17 additional posts for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Justice Minister Delroy Chuck yesterday directed a barrage of harsh criticisms against what he said was the ineptitude of the government service.
A blunt justice minister told his parliamentary colleagues that the present system is meant to frustrate rather than facilitate.
On Monday, the Government's chief prosecutor, Paula Llewellyn, expressed frustration that the finance ministry was dragging its feet in giving her office permission to fill the 17 positions, for which the Cabinet had already approved.
Chuck complained that the Cabinet had signed off on the posts for the ODPP, including 10 Crown counsel, but to date, the instructions have not been sent from the Ministry of Finance to that office for implementation.
"It's amazing that this was done from last year. It's in the budget; I expect that this will be done forthwith."
SHAW NOT AT FAULT EITHER
He said that Finance Minister Audley Shaw had nothing to do with the delay.
The justice minister said that his permanent secretary had written letters to the relevant persons at the finance ministry and nothing had been done.
Central Kingston Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites agreed with Chuck that many useful and helpful plans across administrations had been frustrated by obstacles in the public sector.
He said Parliament had failed to deal with the sea of bureaucracy that had undermined successive governments.
'It's frustrating to deal with the public sector'
Horace Dalley, member of parliament for Clarendon North, raised the alarm that the funds to pay the judges were available, yet the posts were not approved.
"This is serious cause for concern," he said.
He charged that both the ministers of justice and finance sat in the Cabinet and, therefore, it was "unacceptable that they can't have the public service division of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service approve these 17 posts so that the judges can be placed in the system".
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck pointed out that he spoke with Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, who told him that she had written to the finance ministry about filling the 17 posts.
"It is frustrating to deal with the public sector."
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips reminded Chuck that he and his colleagues were in charge of the Government. He asked the minister how the matter would be resolved.
Responding, Chuck said: "How on earth do you get this thing done, and when you interfere, you hear that you interfere in the bureaucracy?"
Commenting on the issue, Shaw said he was advised by the deputy financial secretary with responsibility for human resources that the outstanding issues relating to the appointment of the additional personnel in the ODPP were awaiting specific information from the office. He said the finance ministry only obtained the information a few days ago. He said the approvals have been forwarded to the DPP.